It is possible to get caught up in what feels like the idiosyncratically of our struggles.
However, it may destabilise our natural human pride to know that somewhere in the world, another person is going though the same struggle or even worse has gone through the same experience and overcome the struggle.
Not to rock the boat even more, but the Bible tells us in 1st Peter 5:9 –
… Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. (NLT)
“same kind of suffering you are…”
It is easy to dismiss this idea of a collective suffering to the historical and present persecution of Christians in foreign countries. Both timelines share something in common: a comforting distance from our personal space, town or country.
That is another topic altogether but it is also possible to view this particular part of the verse from a personalised viewpoint.
So what kind of suffering are you going through?
The Bible tells us that there are others going through the same. It is a humbling thought. It is not to dismiss the totality of your struggles but I see it as providing a certain bittersweet comfort.
It is very easy to be lost in your thoughts when battling depression. Even if they are negative thoughts, the act still breeds self-absorption. The devil constantly injects horrible thoughts about yourself, in your mind, which is essentially your own sanctuary. It is easy to keep those thoughts churning away in your head when you do not challenge their authority.
We need to constantly remind ourselves the depths of our power through Christ. I am easily consumed by emotion and constantly face the issue of ‘I do not want to feel this way but I can not change how I feel’. In those times, I am undermining the power I have in Christ. I know this but yet again I feel like I cannot do anything to stop my feelings. It is like a cursed cycle.
Here is a more positive analogy; it is like owning your own greenhouse. You are in charge of the upkeep, of the type of seeds that are planted there and how much attention you decide to give each one. Now think of your mind as the greenhouse. You are in charge of what is grown there. If on a bad day, you manage to let the devil’s defeatist thoughts about you plant a seed, remember you are still in control of the thoughts you allow to stay and grow in your mind.
A great way to redirect the focus off how bad you feel is by using your experiences to help others. Even if that means journaling as a means of venting, you are still providing an outlet that someone who is also struggling could connect to.
Side note – I strongly believe that we must discipline ourselves to view the Bible as a personalised guide to living for Christ in the world that we live in now. This is an on-going process but when I read that verse again, I no longer feel guilty by feelings of detachment to the Bible’s relevancy to my actual daily life because I personalise the scripture to me. I even go as far as replacing nouns with pronouns such as ‘I’ or ‘me’ wherever I see fit.